In the shadow of the famous five Premier Crus of Bordeaux are the second growth wines, and a few of these are sometimes referenced with a “super” status above others to imply a quality on par with bottlings that cost dearly for their ephemeral pleasures. One star hails from the site of the historic “Maharajah of Saint-Estèphe” – Château Cos d’Estournel. On the first day of summer we met at Trio and the hospitality of Maître de Table Restaurateur Gregg Pancero to enjoy five vintages of this renowned wine along with a new project from Michel Reybier.
We started with a light-hearted white – Bordeaux, naturally – made by Château Guiraud, in this case a non-botrytised dry wine sourced from the same vineyards as their first growth Sauternes. Tasty heirloom tomato canapés and baby potatoes with horseradish cream and chives awakened our palates for the vertical tasting to come.
Our first wine was a 2003 bottling from a property farther north in the Médoc about halfway to the mouth of the Gironde and eponymously named after the nearby village of Goulée. The cooling ocean and estuary influences gave this wine a softer fruity character than a Saint Estèphe wine, though many interesting aromas and flavor elements lurked underneath. This value priced bottling warrants further study!
Our main event proceeded with five great vintages; 1982, 1985, 1996, 2000, and 2005. We lucky few were granted a luscious opportunity as, one after another, each glass and taste revealed various revelations that developed and emerged with time. 1982 is a famous vintage for all Bordeaux and this may still be the king of all, showing perfume and exceptional balance in a wine that continues to have further aging potential. Many tasters preferred the 2005 with its massive fruit and powerful tannins that need decanting to realize its hidden mysteries. The other vintages were all wonderful with flavor profiles unique to each, ranging from the lighter body and sweet fruit of the 1985, the spicy character of the 1996, to the darker plum notes found in the 2000.
As the wines aired out in their glasses, all the wines became more enjoyable to show the rewards of patience. More light fare accompanied our repast, and Vice Echanson Gordon Hullar noted to the group that all the wines came from the cellars of attending members for this singular event. Even the Goulée came from the cellar of Dan Greathouse in Cleveland, as it was not officially released in the USA for that early vintage. Fortune smiled on us this night for a chance to sample these masterpieces from the “hill of pebbles” created under the pagodas of Château Cos d’Estournel.
J.T. Mayer, Chargé de Presse Provincial Midwest